Fall Camp Notes

August 28th

Jonathan Van Diest ready for his opportunity: “Each day we’re getting better”

From the Daily Camera … Colorado linebacker Jonathan Van Diest knows it sounds cliché for the Buffaloes to talk about getting better every day. He also believes it’s been true over the past month.

“Here it really felt authentic,” the junior said. “Each day we’re getting better, whether you’re taking mental reps or on the field or in meetings. There’s always a step forward.”

Van Diest is one of several players still fighting for a spot as the Buffs prepare for Friday’s opener against Northern Colorado at Folsom Field (7 p.m., TV: Pac-12 Networks).

After an impressive spring, Van Diest missed some time early in August but feels healthy and ready to go.

“The reps I had in the spring really helped me grow in game scenarios and experience in making calls and checks as a leader,” he said. “The defense looks at (senior Nate Landman), but Nate is sometimes going to be out taking a breather or whatnot, and he wasn’t in during the spring, so I had to step up. That really pushed me to lead the team, especially the defense. I can just take that and apply that to this camp.”

Van Diest believes he is a more complete linebacker now than he was when he started the first five games of the 2019 season.

“Where I made my bread and butter when I first started in 2019 was I could play the run and I was trusted in that,” he said. “But then with my ankle (injury) and then the second half of the season we went more towards a heavy man coverage team and that’s where my skill set didn’t carry.”

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August 27th

**Video: Karl Dorrell Friday post-practice comments**

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.comKarl Dorrell … The big thing I’m preaching with our team is that we’re probably going to play a game that seems unscouted in a way. We’re going to have to settle in and see what they’re doing and adjust … It’s a good test for us, early on … We’re coming out of camp in pretty good health, overall … Dylan McCaffrey is very athletic, a very talented kid … The outside backer position remains unsettled … We know, offensively, where most of the starters are … We feel much, much better about our depth … We’ve created in a fabric of our program of work. We tried to implement that last year, but it’s better this year …


August 26th

Neill Woelk DB Preview: Every position has an experienced starter

From CUBuffs.com … If experience is indeed the best teacher, the Colorado Buffaloes’ secondary should be primed to take a big step forward this season.

A year ago, roughly half of CU’s starting secondary had little or no previous starting experience.

This season, it is likely that every spot will be manned by a Buff with plenty of experience in his back pocket — a key for any position, but critical for a spot that is the last line of defense between the opposing offense and the end zone.

At corner, freshman Christian Gonzalez and junior Mekhi Blackmon return after starting every game last season. At safety, junior Isaiah Lewis and sophomore Mark Perry also return, with both also having multiple starts in 2020; and nickel back junior Chris Miller returns as well.

There’s also some depth on the back end, with second-year freshman Toren Pittman and sophomore Ray Robinson getting some time in camp. At corner, sophomore Nigel Bethel Jr. and freshmen Tyrin TaylorKaylin Moore and Nikko Reed have also flashed, and all could see some playing time.

There’s no doubt coaches are expecting big things from Gonzalez at corner. He started all six games last season as a true freshman — without the benefit of spring ball — and finished with 19 tackles, two third-down stops and two touchdown-saving tackles.

At 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, Gonzalez is long, lean and fast — the prototype cornerback. Now, he’s aiming to turn his experience from last year into a much bigger 2021.

“I learned a lot just by how much faster the game goes,” Gonzalez said of his initial college season. “It was definitely a hard transition coming from high school where nobody would throw to my side, and then come into college and get him picked on. But that’s why I came here. I wanted to play early. It was a challenge but I learned you have to move on to the next play really quick.”

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Related … Mark Johnson interviews Christian Gonzalez … from Colorado Football … 

Related … Mark Johnson interviews Isaiah Lewis … from Colorado Football …


August 25th

Dorrell comments at Front Range Huddle: “This team has bought in, they really have, and it’s because we have some really good senior leaders”

Transcript courtesy of BuffStampede.com


College Football News predicts CU rout in opener

From College Football News

Why Northern Colorado Will Win

The Bears opted out of the 2020 season, but they should come up with a far stronger offense despite losing a few key parts from 2019.

Michigan QB transfer Dylan McCaffrey comes in to try cranking up the passing game even more. Jaren Mitchell and the receiving corps should be good enough to hit a few big plays here and there.

The Northern Colorado secondary is in place to pick off a few passes if Colorado isn’t sharp – the Buffs were wildly inefficient through the air last season, and Tennessee transfer QB JT Shrout hurt his knee. But …

Why Colorado Will Win

Colorado should run wild.

The Buffs aren’t receiving a whole lot of preseason love and respect, but there’s a ton of experience returning on both sides of the ball with four starters back on the offensive line to pave the way for a loaded backfield.

It might have been two years ago, but Northern Colorado still has to prove it can stop someone’s rushing attack. It was ripped up for close to six yards per carry and 250 yards per game back in 2019, and Colorado will ease into the season by pounding away over and over again.

What’s Going To Happen

Colorado will roll at will.

It’ll get deep on the running back depth chart on the way to over 300 yards on the ground, QB Brendon Lewis will look fine as he gets in enough live reps to get his feet wet, and it’ll be a good scrimmage for the Buffs before dealing with Texas A&M.

Colorado vs Northern Colorado Prediction

Colorado 48, Northern Colorado 6


August 23rd

**Karl Dorrell: Monday Post-practice talk with media**

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com

On the status of the CU offensive line … “It’s coming along pretty well. It’s better than we had a year ago. We’re waiting on Frank (Fillip) to get back and when (he) gets back, that’ll give us a boost. The thinnest area is probably at our tackle positions still. But I think with Casey (Roddick) back and being healthy, and then Kanan Ray, last year he kind of came out of training camp dinged up and really had some issues just maintaining his health but he was able to make it through camp and get all of his reps, so he’s a much better player. We have Austin Johnson back — we think we have a tremendous amount of depth for the interior three (positions) but tackles are the ones — we have four tackles that are there, but one of our best ones, we’re still waiting for him to come back. Hopefully he’ll be back sometime between weeks three and four.”

“When Frank gets back, that’ll give us a boost. (Our offensive line depth) is better than we had a year ago but the thinnest area is at our tackle positions.

“With Casey (Roddick) back and healthy, Kanan Ray being healthy, and Austin Johnson back, we have a tremendous amount of depth on the interior three (with starters Kary Kutsch and Colby Pursell, and Iowa transfer Noah Fenske). We have four tackles that are there but one of our best ones (Fillip), we’re still waiting for him to come back.”


August 22nd

Brenden Rice ready: “I’m not gonna speak on it too much, but I have a lot to show you all”

From the Daily Camera … Brenden Rice provided a glimpse of potential greatness as a true freshman with the Colorado Buffaloes in 2020.

It was just a starting point, however, and the talented receiver from Chandler, Ariz., shook his head and smiled when asked recently what he did to improve this offseason.

“A lot,” said Rice, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound second-year freshman. “I was very out of control in my routes. I was out of control in my running. I didn’t really know how to make everything look the same.”

Despite that, Rice caught six passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns in CU’s five-game regular season in 2020. Including a punt return for a touchdown, he scored on three of the nine plays on which he touched the ball.

CU head coach Karl Dorrell, offensive coordinator/receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini, and offensive quality control coach Reggie Moore have all spent time working with Rice in preparation for this season.

“His game has really gone to the next level,” Chiaverini said. “He’s got to still be consistent catching the football, but he’s explosive.”

Considering his surname and position, it seems fitting that Rice is developing into one of the Buffs’ best receivers. After all, his biological father, Jerry Rice, is the greatest receiver to ever play the game, with NFL records for receptions (1,549), receiving yards (22,895) and total touchdowns (208) that might never get broken.

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Dorrell: Remaining QB’s have “heightened awareness” without Shrout in the lineup

From the Daily Camera … Losing a potential starter at quarterback is certainly not ideal for the Colorado football team, but with the season opener quickly approaching, head coach Karl Dorrell is pleased with the progress at the position.

A week after losing sophomore JT Shrout to a “significant” knee injury, second-year freshman Brendon Lewis continues to prepare for his starting debut, while true freshman Drew Carter is preparing for his new role as the top backup.

“You’ve seen that heightened awareness by both of those guys,” Dorrell said after the Buffs’ conducted a scrimmage on Saturday. “They’re trying to kind of lock in.”

In the week since that injury, Lewis has settled into the lead role.

“You can tell that his focus is sharper,” Dorrell said.

Nevertheless, Lewis is still just 19 years old with zero college starts under his belt.

“We keep forgetting he’s still a freshman,” Dorrell said. “He’s going to make mistakes, and we know that and we tell him that you’re not going to be perfect, but it’s okay to strive for perfection. It’s like that old Vince Lombardi quote – strive for perfection, you just might attain excellence. That’s kind of what we’re hoping that we can get him to.”

To get there, Dorrell said the coaching staff has to be patient and when Lewis does make a mistake the key is “getting past it and keep going. Then we’ll review the tape the night after and clean it up.”

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August 21st 

**Video: Karl Dorrell Recaps Second Scrimmage**

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com

… Karl Dorrell … “Good situational day today … The best thing about it, no serious injuries – that’s helpful … It was a kind of a give-and-take scrimmage. The offense had some good plays … The defense stepped up and had a few plays … I like where we’re at. It’s a battling team … It was about 80 plays, our last big scrimmage … School starts on Monday, so we’re back to 20-hour rules … It’s good to see Nate (Landman) out there … You can see how confident the defense is when he’s out there … When all those pieces are back, and we’re ready to roll … it’s going to be a really good defense … With Brendon (Lewis) you can tell that his focus is sharper … We keep forgetting that he’s still a younger player. He’s still a freshman … He’s going to make mistakes, and we tell him that … (Freshman kicker) Cole Becker, he’s ice. He’s got ice in his veins … He’s had a fabulous camp … ”



August 20th

Karl Dorrell preaching to the choir: “I want to change the narrative; I want to change the perception”

From the Daily Camera … Several hundred fans and supporters of Colorado football stood and applauded as head coach Karl Dorrell went to the podium to talk about his team Friday at the Buffaloes’ indoor practice facility.

“I haven’t won a game yet in 2021 and it was a standing ovation,” Dorrell joked as he got to the microphone. “I’ve got to remember that feeling.”

If Dorrell and the Buffs realize his vision for the program, it won’t be his last standing ovation.

For 17 minutes, Dorrell spoke during the 32nd Annual Boulder Chamber Colorado Football Kickoff Luncheon, and he laid out the plan he has for the program as he enters his second season in Boulder. CU opens the campaign on Sept. 3 at Folsom Field against Northern Colorado (7 p.m., TV: Pac-12 Network).

Dorrell spoke about lofty expectations, on the field and off.

“I want to change the narrative,” he told the crowd.

Dorrell is aware of the perception of the CU program, which won a national title in 1990 but has produced just two winning seasons since 2005.

Since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, CU has been projected to finish fifth or lower in the six-team South division 10 times, including each of the past four years. Despite low expectations going into a 2020 season shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Buffs went a surprising 4-2. Pac-12 media projected the Buffs for a fifth-place finish again this year.

“I want to change the perception,” Dorrell said. “I want it to be a winning perception. When I came here a year ago, that wasn’t the case. I want that perception to be realized again with people that are behind us as supporters.”

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August 19th

Broussard’s success serving as motivation for Alex Fontenot: “I know what he can do; he knows what I can do”

From the Daily Camera … On a weekly basis during the 2020 football season, Jarek Broussard ran through Colorado opponents and put up numbers that haven’t been seen in the program for years.

While he was dominating the opposition, Broussard was also fueling Alex Fontenot’s fire.

CU’s leading rusher in 2019, Fontenot missed last season with a hip injury. In his place, Broussard earned Pac-12 offensive player of the year honors.

“It really just lit a fire under me, to work harder, get in the playbook harder, work on stuff that I might not have been good at before,” Fontenot said this week. “Really just harp on the details and that’s been my main focus in this camp.”

Healthy again as the Buffaloes go through preseason camp, Fontenot is pushing for the role of lead back in a deep and talented backfield.

“I’ve been pretty much doing what I always do – making plays and just getting good stuff on film,” he said.

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August 18th

OT Jake Wiley pushing for starting time: “I’ve made a big jump in my game”

From the Daily Camera … Frank Fillip started all six games at right tackle for the Colorado Buffaloes in 2020, and it’s expected he will be a starter once he returns from a shoulder injury.

Redshirt freshman Jake Wiley, however, is making a push for that role.

“I tell you, Jake has been a blessing,” CU offensive line coach Mitch Rodrigue said. “He’s worked his tail off this summer. I could tell and it’s paying dividends right now. He’s doing a very good job. I tell Frank all the time, ‘Hey, you’re gonna battle to get your spot back because Jake’s hanging on to it.’”

Fillip, who injured his shoulder in the spring, is expected to miss the first two or three games, but is progressing and is ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, Wiley’s strong offseason has continued through the first 12 practices of preseason camp.

“This whole past summer … I was working and trying to get better,” Wiley said. “I think from my freshman year to now I’ve made a big jump in my game.”

A 2019 graduate of Eaglecrest High School in Aurora, Wiley redshirted in 2019 and then played in all six games last year, mostly on special teams. He played eight snaps on offense.

Most offensive linemen take some time to develop, however, and the 6-foot-6, 290-pound Wiley is making progress.

“I think honestly, for me it was getting myself to a good playing weight, where I felt comfortable, felt like I can move,” he said. “The physical thing was just getting that, but it was more mental for me; just knowing the playbook and not messing up.”

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Athlon: Brenden Rice one of the “Top 25 Breakout Wide Receivers of 2021”

From Athlon Sports … With the 2021 college football season less than 15 days away, a new wave of stars and standouts are ready to emerge at wide receiver. Having an elite passing game is essential to winning in this era of college football, so the development of some of the names on this list could be crucial to the outcome of a conference title race. LSU’s Kayshon Boutte, USC’s Drake London, Oklahoma’s Marvin Mims and North Carolina’s Josh Downs are just a few of the names we expect to have a breakout year this fall. In the Group of 5 ranks, Arkansas State’s Corey Rucker, Kent State’s JaShaun Poke and Western Michigan’s Jaylen Hall and Skyy Moore are just a few of the players projected to have big seasons of their own.

With fall practice underway, Athlon Sports is taking a look at some of the breakout candidates for 2021. Determining what player fits the breakout tag isn’t easy. Each person has a different take on what a “breakout player” is, and college football is always home to several new faces throughout the season. While it’s difficult to label breakout players, the new stars of any season can have a huge impact on conference championship or national title races.

Who are the next breakout stars at wide receiver for 2021? Athlon has compiled 25 picks and some names to watch:

Brenden Rice, Colorado
The son of NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice only recorded nine touches in his first season on campus. However, he certainly made the most of those opportunities. Rice caught six passes for 120 yards and took two of those for touchdowns. He also averaged 18.5 yards per kickoff return and returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown. Rice should be more involved in Colorado’s offense in 2021.

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August 17th

Offensive line Coach Mitch Rodrigue: “Contrary to popular belief, the offensive line is more important than the quarterback”

From YouTube, courtesy of CUSportsNation.com

Mitch Rodrigue … “We’ve have to make some changes here and there … The offensive line – there’s a lot of communication going on, footwork, fundamentals and technique. It takes awhile to catch up … I’m pleased with our effort right now … Chance Lytle is a tough kid. Eight months ago he had a broken leg, and now he’s practicing … Right tackle, left tackle – we’re just trying to find him a home right now” … On transfers Max Wray and Noah Fenske: “I learned a long time ago not to have any expectations when it comes to transfers … They’ll be fine … They’ll be contributing … Contrary to popular belief, the offensive line is more important than the quarterback – y’all did know that, right? … Kary Kutsch is staying at left guard: “If Kary moves to center, I’m going to shoot myself … he’s got a good home, and we have a lot of depth at center … Casey Roddick (starting right guard for most of 2020) is back to full speed, and hasn’t missed a beat for the last two practices … he’s really focused … Jake Wiley has been Frank Fillip at tackle: “I tell Frank that he’s going to have to work to get his spot back (Fillip has missed some practices, but started every game at right tackle last season)” …



August 16th

**Video – Karl Dorrell post-practice” – J.T. Shrout has a “significant injury” 

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStamepede.com

Karl Dorrell … “One of our best practices … showing some maturity and growth … We’re definitely heading in the right direction … On J.T. Shrout: They did the MRI, he does have a significant injury ... He will be out for a period of time … He’ll respond. He feels like he’s let down his teammates – that’s the kind of guy he is, thinking of his teammates first … We’ll know more after the surgery. Sometimes they go in and find out it wasn’t as bad as they thought … Drew Carter is now our No. 2 … It’s usually tough to get a true freshman ready at that position, but it can be done … He understands the importance of bringing up his game as fast as he can bring it … (As to additional backups) We’re talking several of our guys on the team about a solution for that (several Buffs, including tight end Matt Lynch, have experience at quarterback) … “We’re talking (with Brendon Lewis) about not trying to run over people, like Sam (Noyer) did last year … being smart on his decision about attacking contact … It should help him (that he is now getting all of the first team reps) … ”



August 15th

Cornerback Mekhi Blackmon “looks good, very competitive”

From the Daily Camera … Despite the disjointed nature of the 2020 football season, Mekhi Blackmon was able to find his groove.

A junior cornerback at Colorado, Blackmon had his best season in 2020 and he’s looking to build off of that this year.

“I’ve been pleased where Mekhi is,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said during the first week of preseason camp. “He worked hard this summer. … He looks good, very competitive.”

A part-time starter during his first two years at CU in 2018-19, Blackmon competed for a starting spot in 2020, got it and then took off. Starting all six games for the Buffs (4-2, 3-1 Pac-12), he was their best and most consistent cornerback. Playing all but 13 snaps during the five-game regular season, he had 16 tackles, four pass breakups and an interception.

… Blackmon credits Dorrell’s approach and the effort of CU’s nutrition staff and strength and conditioning staff.

“I’m really excited because usually I’m one of the smallest on the field, but now that I’m getting my weight up, you can tell the way I’m approaching things are different,” he said.

During his CU career, Blackmon has played at cornerback and nickel but is currently focusing on cornerback.

Blackmon is eager to be a leader for a corner group that includes blossoming star Christian Gonzalez, a second-year freshman; and three true freshmen: Kaylin Moore, Nikko Reed and Tyrin Taylor.

“Surprisingly, all three of our freshmen are handling their business,” Blackmon said. “You couldn’t even tell there are freshmen (at corner) right now. There’s no drop-off.”

For now, it’s a group led by Blackmon, who is healthy after dealing with some knee soreness in the spring and ready to pick up where he left off in 2020.

“Everything is good,” he said. “I’m just working on getting back in the motion of things and everything else is pretty good.”

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Notes and quotes from Saturday’s scrimmage

From CUBuffs.com …  Saturday’s first scrimmage of fall camp gave Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell and his staff a good baseline measurement of where the Buffaloes stand after nine practices.

There were some explosive plays on offense and special teams, some big stops by the defense — but most of all, the scrimmage gave CU coaches a good look at players who are vying for playing time in live action.

“This will be good tape for us to watch and see our guys play without the coaches behind them telling them what to do,” Dorrell said after the Folsom Field workout, which consisted of roughly 90 plays from scrimmage and about a dozen more special teams plays. “I’m sure there’ll be a lot of corrections that we have to do and fix some things, but I also saw a lot of really good things, too. Some good execution and good plays. We have to get it fine tuned, and we have time to do that, but I’m pleased right now after nine days of camp.”

The scrimmage was by no means a final tune-up; in fact a number of CU’s established starters played only sparingly or not at all.

But the workout did give players who are vying for starting spots — or key backup roles — the opportunity to make a case for themselves.

Freshman Brendon Lewis got the most playing time of the quarterbacks after sophomore J.T. Shrout left with a knee injury. Lewis had an outstanding day throwing and running the ball, including scoring tosses to tight ends Alec Pell and Jared Poplawski and wide receiver Dimitri Stanley.

(Dorrell said after the scrimmage that the extent of Shrout’s injury was not yet known.)

“I thought B-Lew did some really good things,” Dorrell said. “He made some plays with his feet and also made some throws.”

Running back Jarek Broussard, meanwhile, quickly made it apparent that he’s ready to pick up from last year, when he led the Pac-12 in rushing. Broussard broke a long touchdown run early in the scrimmage, then took a seat for the rest of the morning.

Pell and Poplawski are among the tight ends competing for significant playing time, and both have had solid camps thus far. Pell, a converted linebacker, is showing he can catch the ball and block in the run game. Poplawski, coming back from two serious injuries, is also having a good camp and displaying his versatility.

Stanley also had a productive day at wide receiver, leading the Buffs in catches and also ripping off a long touchdown on a punt return

NOTEWORTHY: CU’s depth at linebacker — inside and out — has no doubt improved dramatically from a year ago. Outside ‘backer Guy Thomas flashed early in the scrimmage and fellow OLB Joshka Gustav also made some plays … D-linemen Janaz Jordan and Justin Jackson, both aiming to make their way into the rotation, had some moments … Mark Perry continues to look more and more comfortable at safety … Placekicker Cole Becker hit both his FG tries, including one from nearly 50 yards … RB Deion Smith, coming back from a knee injury, appears to be regaining form … WR Brenden Rice had a long kick return … OT Jake Wiley continues to solidify his bid for a top spot. Wiley and Pell had key blocks to help spring Broussard on his long TD run.

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August 14th

**Video: Karl Dorrell post-scrimmage talk with media**

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com … Close to 100-play scrimmage conducted Saturday morning … I liked how the special teams played, there were some good explosive plays there … Jarek (Broussard) looked good early; got his reps (had over 100 yards on his first two carries) and got him out … At practice nine of 25, I tell the team we are still in the dark days of camp, there is no light at the end of the tunnel … J.T. was out there, he tried to make a move, and his knee buckled a little bit. I’m sure it scared him a little bit. We don’t know what the extent is … We’re hopeful that it’s not too serious … No one was around him, he kind of did a move on air. It was one of those things in football. Sometimes those things happen … We’re hoping for the best … He’s the type of kid that, whatever the situation is, he’ll bounce back from it, and try and get back as quickly as he can … Drew Carter did okay, for his first scrimmage … We have what we have. If (Shrout) is going to be out for an extended period of time, we have three to work with (Brendon Lewis, Drew Carter, and freshman walkon Jordan Woolverton) … This (scrimmage) will help to formulate the depth … who is worthy of being the first team, second team or third team … This was a big test for everybody, to showcase what they can do …

*Quarterback J.T. Shrout injured in non-contact injury during scrimmage*

Tweet from Brian Howell of the Daily Camera … QB JT Shrout went down with a knee injury during the #cubuffs scrimmage today. Didn’t look good but Karl Dorrell said they don’t know the extent of the injury. Shrout has been competing with Brendon Lewis for starting job. CU came into camp with only 3 scholarship QBs, 4 total

Karl Dorrell had no update after the scrimmage on the specifics of the injury.

“JT kind of tried to make a move and his knee buckled a little bit. I’m sure it scared him a little bit. We’re not knowing what the extent is. We’re hopeful that it’s not too serious. No one was around him — he kind of did the move against the air. It’s one of those things in football that sometimes that happens. We’re hoping for the best and sending our prayers. But he’s the type of kid where whatever the situation is, he’ll bounce back from it and try to get back as quickly as he can.”


August 13th

Media Day: Karl Dorrell’s press conference

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com … “We feel like we’re making progress, each and every day … We had some really good competitive work, some guys are really start to blossom into some positions … I think the quarterback position is extremely competitive, which is the way I like it … they’ll make it a hard decision … they push each other and have a good relationship off of the field … We’re going to let it play out a little further (a scrimmage on Saturday, and another on August 21st) …

“I think with given a couple of scrimmages under our belt, it’ll give us maybe a better light as to what direction we should go,” Dorrell said. “We’ll see if there’s some separation.  That’s what we’re trying to see when the coaches are off the field and they’re playing the game and they’re managing the offense and making decisions and being efficient with what we’re doing offensively. Those are the parameters that we want to see them play with when no one’s in their ear. I think it’s going to be at least a couple more weeks.”



August 12th

**Video: Offensive Coordinator Darrin Chiaverini**

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com



August 11th

Transfer Robert Barnes already a vocal leader: “I wanted to help with the culture shift”

From the Daily Camera … As one of the new guys on the Colorado football team when he arrived in January, Robert Barnes knew he had to earn respect first.

It didn’t take long, however, for the transfer from Oklahoma to start speaking up and become a leader.

“He came in as a grad transfer and really went to work right away, the first week and everybody was noticing, ‘Who is this guy?’” head coach Karl Dorrell said. “No one really that was on the team last year really knew who he was, but I think he quickly has established respect and that leadership that he’s brought just because of his work ethic.

“He’s always been vocal; he’s always been very encouraging with his teammates. Those are all really great qualities of leaders who really understand how to pick guys up that need to be picked up and how to get on guys that need to pick it up. He’s been a great addition for us.”

A 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker, Barnes brings not only experience to CU’s defense, but first-hand knowledge of what an elite team is supposed to look like. He played in 34 games – including 10 starts – over four seasons at Oklahoma. The Sooners went 45-8 with four Big 12 titles and three appearances in the College Football Playoff during Barnes’ time there.

“I just knew that I wanted to help with the culture shift,” Barnes said of coming to CU. “That’s one thing (defensive coordinator Chris) Wilson was telling me before I came here and I wanted to be a part of that.”

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August 10th

First day in pads: “These guys have been grinding. I couldn’t ask for anything more as a coach”

From CUBuffs.com … Colorado’s first day in full pads produced some highlights on both sides of the ball Tuesday.

The Buffaloes practiced for the sixth straight day, and head coach Karl Dorrell said he continues to like his team’s attitude and effort.

“These guys are really doing some good things,” Dorrell said. “I’ve been happy with their attitude for the most part. Usually when you’re into this, you’re starting to get sore and beat up a little bit … These guys have been grinding. I couldn’t ask for anything more as a coach, to be able to still coach these guys aggressively and they still want to learn because they want to do great things this year.”

The Buffs got some fully “live” work in Tuesday, including some goal line and short-yardage situations that Dorrell said featured some “good give and take.”

Defensive highlights of the practice included an interception by linebacker Jack Lamb and another by Ray Robinson, and a sack and third-down stop from defensive lineman Terrance Lang.

Lang is returning from an injury and is not yet 100 percent, but is showing all signs of being ready to take his game to the next level.

“He had some live reps today,” Dorrell said. “We’re bringing him back slowly and his presence was felt today.”

Lamb, meanwhile, gives the Buffs a nice boost at linebacker. He and fellow grad transfer Robert Barnes have helped the depth inside in a big way. The return of Nate Landman gives CU a solid inside LB corps.

“Guys like Jack LambRobert Barnes, their presence is felt, too,”  Dorrell said. “It’s not that Nate has to make every play anymore. We have some good enough ‘backers that they’re all making plays. With such a good system in place, Nate’s still going to be Nate, but it’s good to add some good pieces to that system.”

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**Video: Karl Dorrell discusses first practice in pads**

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com

Notes … “Six practices in a row, we’re trying to stack them like pancakes … First day in pads, we had 12-14 plays live, and there was some good give-and-take” … DL Terrance Lang singled out for efforts on goal line defense … Transfers Jack Lamb and Robert Barnes fitting in well … Dimitri Stanley returning punts, with Brenden Rice still involved … La’Vontae Shenault, Brenden Rice, Christian Gonzalez, Jarek Broussard and Deion Smith are candidates at kick returner to replace the injured Maurice Bell … Buffs will get their first day off Wednesday after six straight days of practice … Different players, including Chance Lytle, have been seeing time at tackle due to Frank Fillip being out for the first few games of the season … Fillip ahead of schedule on his rehabilitation … Transfer offensive lineman Noah Fenske running second at center behind Colby Pursell … “Definitely this offensive line has more depth than a year ago” …

“I would say like Jack Lamb and Robert Barnes, their presence is felt too. It’s not that Nate has to make every play anymore. We have some good enough backers to where they’re all making plays. Jack Lamb had a big interception today during a third down period. It seemed like last year a lot of focus was on Landman getting his when everybody else just got what you got but now, with such a good system in place — Nate is going to be Nate, but it’s good to add some (other) pieces to that system.”


August 9th

**Video: Defensive Coordinator Chris Wilson**

… “The biggest thing toward being prepared is being a good listener” … On being CU’s new defensive coordinator: “My job is to make sure that we’re on track, and, if we aren’t on track, what’s the next step” … “One thing about playing up front (on the defensive line) is that you are a first responder” … “A lot of good things happened a year ago. I believe we are going in the right direction” … “The player who players is the player playing the best that week. Practice determines reps. I don’t determine (who plays), they do” … “When your fronts become great, your team becomes great” …

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com



August 8th

**Video: Quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf and QB’s J.T. Shrout and Brendon Lewis**

From YouTube, courtesy of CUSportsNation

Quarterback J.T. Shrout … 

Quarterback Brendon Lewis … 



August 7th

**Video: Karl Dorrell Day Three post-practice talk with media**

… “The team is really in a good place, from a mental standpoint” … 

From YouTube, courtesy of CUSportsNation


**Video: CU’s Mark Johnson interviews Jarek Broussard and Nate Landman**

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffsTV



August 6th

Transfer linebacker Robert Barnes taking leadership role: “He’s been a great addition for us”

From CUBuffs.com … Fall training camp is more than Xs and Os.

No doubt, implementing defensive and offensive schemes and game plans is critical, as is identifying the players who can best execute those schemes.

But another critical process through the long haul of camp is continuing the building of a culture of leadership — and so far, Colorado coach Karl Dorrell is pleased with what he’s seen of his Buffaloes in that regard.

The Buffs wrapped up their second day of camp Friday. Dorrell again said he liked what he saw from his players on the field, and noted that their effort in August is the product of work from last spring through the summer.

Those are the days that set the stage for improvement.

“It’s a combination of things,” Dorrell said. “It’s their training, what they did this summer to get themselves in really good physical shape to play the game. And then I think it’s a great step from what they did in spring, the information we had there. They carried that over to the summer and really enhanced the efficiency and productivity of what they did in the spring. It is a culmination of our training and those guys doing a lot of player-led stuff in the summer. It’s definitely reflected in what I’ve seen.”

That progress also requires more than just coaches instructing players. The process also involves leadership from older players who know the culture Dorrell and his staff want to build, and assume their roles in making sure that foundation is firmly established.

“It’s critical because I feel the foundation has been laid,” Dorrell said “We’ve made it as strong as possible and it’s a good foundation. There’s a great comfort in knowing that they know what the expectations are. They know how we handle ourselves within our program. It’s comforting to see

that they’ve kind of bought into that,  but more importantly they’ve bought into each other.”

Dorrell obviously depends on his veterans to assume that leadership role — but he is also seeing some transfers assume those duties, in particular those who came in as graduate transfers, such as linebacker Robert Barnes.

“He quickly has established a respect in that leadership that he’s brought because of his work ethic,” Dorrell said. “He’s always been vocal, he’s always been very encouraging with his teammates. Those are all great qualities of leaders, who really understand how to pick guys up that need to be picked up and how to get on guys that need to pick it up. He’s been able to do those things really early. He’s been a great addition for us.”

Continue reading story here

** Video: Karl Dorrell: Day Two of Fall Camp**

From You Tube, courtesy of CUSportsNation



August 5th

** Video: Karl Dorrell pleased by effort in first fall practice **

From YouTube, courtesy of BuffStampede.com

Linebacker Nate Landman, video courtesy of CUSportsNation.com … 

Running back Jarek Broussard, video courtesy of CUSportsNation.com



August 4th – Players Report

Note … At the request of the CU Athletic Department … Please note that we do not want the team’s daily schedule posted anywhere, simply because with all practices closed to the public, some still do show up and are upset when we have to turn them away … I won’t be posting the daily schedule. But fear not, there will be daily coverage …

Daily Camera posts its preseason camp preview

From the Daily Camera … Dorrell is much more comfortable in his job today than he was a year ago.

“I feel like the foundation of what we do, the players have an idea what that looks like on a calendar year now,” he said. “I think we’re off to a good start now.”

After a full offseason with Turley and a full set of spring practices and summer workouts, Dorrell is ready to get rolling.

“I think the progress of our first offseason went really, really well,” Dorrell said. “It started when I was able to get Shannon on board at the start of February. I felt like we were able to kind of teach how we train.

“I kind of, in my mind, moved COVID into its own separate year. It wasn’t really a great foundational year because we weren’t able to have an offseason before spring, get a break and then have a summer. So this really was our first year of going through that part. I think our players really have learned a lot about particularly how to train and what are the expectations of our training.”

As the Buffs continue to build the foundation and develop the roster, the next step is the 25 practices before the Sept. 3 opener against Northern Colorado.

“Training camp is still going to be developing players, so to speak, but it’s actually going to give those players that chance, since they went through spring, to come and compete for a spot, compete for a position,” Dorrell said.

Continue reading story here

Offensive tackle Frank Fillip may not be available until the start of Pac-12 play

From the Daily Camera … Offensive Line: Colby Pursell (center) and Kary Kutsch (left guard) can probably be penciled in as starters, while Ohio State transfer Max Wray will likely start at left tackle. Sophomore Frank Fillip is expected to be the starter at right tackle — where he played last year — but he suffered a torn labrum in spring and Dorrell told BuffZone that Fillip will miss the first two or three games of the season. Redshirt freshman Jake Wiley and Iowa transfer Noah Fenske could factor in at right tackle, at least until Fillip returns. At right guard, 2020 starter Casey Roddick is back, but junior Chance Lytle, sophomore Kanan Ray and redshirt freshman Austin Johnson could be in the mix, too.

Continue reading story here


46 Replies to “Fall Camp Notes”

  1. As much as I denigrate Bret “the Belly” Bielema he beat the huskers just now. Big deal….right?
    He barely beat em. With 12 minutes to go in the 4th, when I came in, he started trying to run out the clock by running every single play with no more than 2 or 3 different plays. This, of course led to a husker surge where they closed the gap to 8.
    Its obvious Martinez is the only threat on O for the huskers right now. Maybe thats one reason the kid from Boulder has committed there expecting to start right away. Or maybe its an obsession for runzas.
    Still thanking RG for not hiring that dinosaur Bielema.

  2. So for now its the UNC Bears? or will it be soon be the UNC McCaffreys? I’m not sure how many kids Ed has but I think there is only one more out there trying to find a home. Probably just a matter of time before he comes “home.”
    HWSRN and at least one regular commenter in here have to think this is a great situation

  3. With school starting…wanted to share my favorite 1st week @ CU memory…Farrand Field, Week 1, playing football w/Mitch Berger and Westbrook (before he went all SUPERSTAR whacky, he was super-down to earth and a genuine nice guy). Just catching punts from Mitch I quickly realized what a different game they were playing (never had tried to catch a ball so high in my life). Always felt this encapsulates the beauty of CFB vs. NFL and what should be the on-campus experience.

    1. I played a lot of pick up hoops with Cullen Bryant. I knew him from high school We went to different schools in Colo Spgs but I met him at track meets where we could all mingle. He didnt move as fast as I knew he could….maybe didnt want to injure himself for football….but he had an accurate fade away jumper.
      Then one day my intermural team had to play a team of varsity football players, mostly line men like Herb Orvis. Take a charge? sure you bet. You even played a real loose D so you didnt catch a tree trunk elbow. Box out? no way. Dont even go anywhere near a rebound. We managed to keep it from becoming a complete route by moving, passing and hitting long distance jumpers.

    2. I was a decent high school basketball player. Freshman year at Cu I’m at the rec playing pickup ball and who walks in but Alec Burks and Cory Higgins. The people on my team told me to guard burks, yeah life wasn’t fun for me over the next 20 minutes.

  4. I really believe Dorrell when he speaks of turning the program around compared to those before him. Yes, Mickey Mac said some goods things when he got here too, and did some goods things to correct the previous HC errors, but couldn’t get out of his own way to continue the rebuilding to a consent level of success.

    Dorrell is just so much more sincere and from the heart. AND, with a plan. He truly seems to have a plan.

    Midnight Mel was/is a good rah, rah and after seeing his same game at his next stop, I’d classify his stick as a “merch” coach, but KD is a build it one step at a time and here are the BLUE PRINTS to what we are doing.

    Lose in an area of recruiting… don’t complain and make excuses, find talent elsewhere; then develop it, maybe give that talent a second chance at greatness, but putting together a team that plays well together and compliments each other… like money ball.

    I really think the BUFFS can beat A&M and then, surprise they are 4-0, before the USC game is a possibility!

      1. We could arguably have the ‘worst’ situation at QB in entire CFB D1.
        As others have pointed out, it’s not just the starter…but all the way down to Scout QB…need to be competent at all levels for the good of the entire team.

          1. Not worried about BLew…see ILL vs. NU 1st quarter…we do not have a transfer from Rutgers on the bench.

  5. All the signs from “football school,” Turley, simplified D, and the previously hidden Rodrigue lead me to believe this will be one fundamentally prepared football team. From my own past experience I know the value of receiving an education from someone with a “twinkle in their eye” like Rodrigue is huge.
    Having said that here is hoping the play design, timing of the calls, game time adjustments on both O and D are beyond fundamental.

    1. Your last line

      “… here is hoping the play design, timing of the calls, game time adjustments on both O and D are beyond fundamental.”

      Is the key to all the hard work put in by the players………..The coaches can not let the players start out behind the curve by not being up to speed in what you said.

      Coaching. Gotta have all the phases………………….Gotta finish it with the coaches giving the players the tools to win.

      basic doesn’t cut it.

      The DC and the OC just have to be advanced in their strategy and tactics. Have to be. Okay keep It designed for the players…………………just make sure it’s not a corvair. (although that was neat during it’s time……………monza to you)

      Buffalo up…………….Please

      1. Monza you say?
        A high school buddy’s divorced dad was on a hiking camping trip when the buddy called me and asked if I wanted to accompany him to Florida to visit his mother….in his Dad’s convertible Corvair Monza (Later swoopy model) without the dad’s permission. I thought it was a fun car to drive but the thing was barely running when we got back. I asked him to let me out a block before we got to his house so I wouldnt have to be a secondary target of his Dad’s wrath.

  6. Man I really like Rodrigue! The o line is more important than the QB….. a great o line can make an average qb look amazing. A poor o line can get your elite qb buried and broken…. I hope the improvement we saw from the line last year continues. Broussard is such a phenomenal talent, if they can get him just a little bit better blocking he is going to be insane….

    1. He’s also right that they’re often the smartest and fastest processing guys on the team. The other nugget along those lines that we’ve seen/heard repeated lately is they want guys who can process quickly and process accurately. Some wise dude once said about baseball that at least half of it is 90% mental.

      Go Buffs

  7. a shout out…and I do mean a shout to whoever is responsible for the sound on KD’s after practice videos. On this one the soft spoken Karl was heard well enough but if the reporters dont have a microphone all but one needs to project their voice better so we can hear the question. One reporter did do that but he wasn’t you Howell…make yourself heard please.
    Now back to the QB’s. HC said he was talking to a couple of other guys on the team about going to QB from their present position assignments. Speculation is Matt Lynch was one of them because of his time back when he was a QB.
    I see the freshman jitters once again here….and not from the freshman QBs….its the coaches. I understand practice is different than game pressure but how ya gonna find out without sticking them in a game? Get brave coaches. Like Bufftime and Eric said UNC should be a great opportunity to find out. If they go with Lynch before Woolverton I would be shocked. The kid is a stud.

  8. Damn. That sucks for JT. Hearing he was wailing in pain, and needed a cart to get off the field, we kinda knew it was not good. Hope he heals up well and as quickly as possible.

    Hopefully those freshmen can get the job done when needed, as I’m pretty sure odds are low that one or both won’t be needed at some point during the season. Brenden’s apparently a physical beast, but those guys take a beating, and it seems unlikely he’d go a full season of taking every snap. I guess there’s even more to hope for, still.

    Go Buffs

  9. It has been said Carter and Woolverton split time with he second team O during the scrimmage. Nothing else on how good or bad they were. I guess if they were bad it wouldn’t be a good idea to broadcast it. Sadly, I’m sure there will be a few of the Buff’s opponents stretching rules with extra or late hitting trying to get B-Lew out and one of the rookies in.

  10. Certainly too bad about Shrout. Freshman backup will have to step up. (Last year they let the qb play hurt for too long cause they didn’t trust the freshman QB). If BL gets hurt they need to take the risk and put the healthy frosh qb in…………..They = coaches)

    Kinda hard to figure without seeing, who really was good. Those long runs………..are they on the defense or is he that good…………probably a combination.

    Anyway just the first scrimmage.
    Hard to wait 19 days. Sheesh turn on the fast forward

    1. On the optimistic side, Drew Carter was able to participate in a real Spring camp and go thru the whole summer conditioning program. Last year B-Lew couldn’t get that. The late fall camp was essentially his intro to the team. I would think Drew is ahead of where B-Lew was by the first game, and subsequently further along still if he is called on to enter a game. He is now the no.2 so his preparation will change from when there were 2 starter candidates ahead of him. Heck, they may even give him a series in the N. Colorado game, just to get him used to game speed a bit.

      1. I like the optimism! And yeah, it’ll be a big surprise if Drew doesn’t get into the Northern Colorado game. Heck, hopefully Jordan does too.

        Go Buffs

  11. Referring to your question in the poll, Stuart about ” scary for a running QB, ” Howell pretty much summed it up saying he may not be doing that much running if Shrout is out for any length of time.
    Bright side is we have a “plethora” (love that word ever since the 3 Amigo movie)of very capable RBs.
    If the good Mac was still here (first one earache) we might be doing a change of pace by going to the triple option. Imagine Stanley taking the snap, flanked by either Clayton, Fontenot or Broussard with either Stacks or Davis lined up behind them in a full T formation. A quick weave with a couple of fake handoffs, then a lateral to B-Loo who is lined up wide who then chucks it down field.
    I got plenty more

    1. I didn’t see Clayton mentioned by HCKD though he did mention every other rb down to the lowest walkon.

      Stuart………….inside info??



    2. Funny you say triple option. I sort of thought Jeff Monken from army would have been an interesting coaching candidate during the last vacancy.

      I think this season’ offense was going to rely on Jarek and the running backs anyway. Hopefully it isn’t jt’s acl but from the reports of him screaming and being carted off, that seems likely. More hope that Carter or Woolverton exceed freshman expectations.

      Go Buffs

    3. ep, now you run down the street and go behind that parked ford pickup then jump out and I’ll hit you with a quick pass……….TD baby.

  12. Well what three weeks.

    GO Buffs.

    Note: The offense always the offense yes it is.
    Note 2: Flash!
    Note 3: The Chev offense…wait…see…next steps……Improvement??
    Note 4. Seems everyone is having a great camp. Good improvement from the spring. Must have worked hard during the summer…………….More flash……….everywhere..

    Note 5: 35 points. Well at least its up from 30 what it was a few months ago. Improvement. Coaches and players.

    I am just not sure why I am sure that surely being sure about the offense is a surely a sure bet.

    The guy in the tub eating strawberries.

  13. Oh yeah. I actually popped over b/c I think Barnes is going to be a beast out there. I wonder if every program thinks they won the transfer portal lottery like we do? Probably. Which too is funny. But, I gotta think the dudes that came over are going to have a significant and immediate impact.

    Hopefully they can up the recruiting to rely less on the mercenary route, but? I’ll take the upgrades anyway they can get them, I guess.

    Go Buffs

    PS – how ’bout Clemson’s QB getting the Dr. Pepper Fansville spot? This profit deal is going to be really interesting to watch unfold. Or maybe unravel. I’ll go w/ unfold, but likely some unraveling too. Could you imagine Manziel with that type of cash in college? Or Marinovich, or… We’re sure to see some good knuckleheadery as this evolves.

  14. This linebacker crew could be outstanding.

    Whooopie getting the homegrown homer excitement rising


      1. He’s likely starting left tackle. According to Karl, they really don’t have none with his physical attributes on the team. Hope he stays heathy.

        Go Buffs

          1. Oh berliner, here you go. This is what Karl said about Max (who is penciled in as starting left tackle, it’s no offenski who’s penciled in at #2 center, pretty sure): “He’s one of those guys who has done a nice job,” Dorrell said. “He’s a good-looking guy. In terms of his height and length, we don’t really have anybody else quite like that. We’re hoping he gets entrenched in doing some really great things for us.” It can be found here, and in a bunch of other places b/c everyone uses the same quotes from the post practice sessions, videos, etc.. https://colorado.rivals.com/news/fall-camp-notebook-no-1-transfers-can-make-a-huge-impact-for-cu-in-2021

            Go Buffs

      2. From CuBuffs

        One area the Buffs aimed to improve their depth this fall was the offensive line, and early indications are they’ve done exactly that. Even with tackle Frank Fillip out for an undetermined amount of time, the Buffs still have some solid depth up front, beginning with returning starters Colby Pursell (center) and Kary Kutsch (guard).

        Jake Wiley continues to get time at tackle, as does transfer Max Wray. Chance Lytle has returned from his injury and is seeing time at guard and tackle, Gerad Christian-Lichtenhan continues to get time at tackle; Casey Roddick is returning to form at guard and Kanan Ray is getting quality snaps.

        Is this too early

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